Gematria Shorts for Ha’azinu-Sukkot 5783

On Sukkot, following the days of judgment—Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—we wield the Lulav high as a sign of our triumph in the heavenly court. The image of the Lulav as a sword raised high comes from the midrash and reminds us of a verse from the end of the Torah (Deuteronomy 33:29), “Happy are you Israel, who is like you, a people redeemed by God, [He is] your protecting shield, your sword triumphant” (אַשְׁרֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִי כָמוֹךָ עַם נוֹשַׁע בַּי-הוה מָגֵן עֶזְרֶךָ וַאֲשֶׁר חֶרֶב גַּאֲוָתֶךָ). The initials of “your sword triumphant” (חֶרֶב גַּאֲוָתֶךָ) spell the word for “festival” (חַג), in this case, the festival of Sukkot (חַג הַסֻּכֹּת). In fact, for each of the three festivals, Sukkot, Pesach, and Shavu’ot, the letters of chag, “festival” are the initials of a phrase that describes the festival. For Pesach it is “Great pity” (חֶמְלָה גְדוֹלָה), alluding to the great pity God had for us in order to free us from Egypt, and for Shavu’ot it is “hidden treasure” (חֶמְדָּה גְּנוּזָה), alluding to the Torah that was given on Shavu’ot. Moreover, the value of “your sword triumphant” (חֶרֶב גַּאֲוָתֶךָ) is the same as “date palm” (תָּמָר), the tree from which the lulav is taken!

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The value of the first two words of Parashat Ha’azinu “Hearken o’ heavens” (הַאֲזִינוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם) is 474, the value of “knowledge” (דַּעַת) or “consciousness. “Knowledge” (דַּעַת) is also equal to 6 times the value of “character trait” (דֵּעָה), alluding to the Laws of Character (הִלְכוֹת דֵּעוֹת) in Maimonides

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The value of the first verse in Ecclesiastes—Kohelet—“The words of Kohelet son of David, a king in Jerusalem” (דִּבְרֵי קֹהֶלֶת בֶּן דָּוִד מֶלֶךְ בִּירוּשָׁלִָם) is 1495, which is the sum of the values of all 22 letters of the Aleph Bet, also referred to as the primordial value of the letter tav (אבגדהוזחטיכלמנסעפצקרשת). In Sefer Yetzirah (the Book of Formation) we learn that God created the world with 10 sefirot and 22 letters. The sefirot are the “lights” and the letters are the “vessels” that contain them. With his wisdom gained from his experience, Ecclesiastes gives us the vessels, or tools, with which to navigate all the difficulties of life.

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